Is My Arrangement Contestable?


The BHS Contest & Judging program has a committee of Music & Performance category judges that are happy to address any questions you may have concerning the contestability of an arrangement. All questions should be directed to the Committee Chairman, Joe Cerutti at

Please note the following information in your email to Joe:

  • All submissions must be in machine-readable form–e.g., an e-mail message requesting a review, and any supporting attachments.
  • The requesting message should cover performer skills, time frame needed for reply, etc.
  • Required attachment can be either a .mus FINALE file (greatly preferred) or a .pdf file.
  • Optional supporting attachments might include: a copy of the original sheet music; a .mid or MP3 file of a rendition by the proposed performer; a .mid or …MP3 file of a rendition by another performer (Barbershop only)

You should expect a response to your inquiry within two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the policy for adding our song titles to our group's chart repertory? 

As it relates to contests, there is a reason why the DRCJ (or anyone else) can’t just “add” a song to your repertory… you must “vouch” for the chart as having been “legally” obtained. You do that in Barberscore. To be clear – just because a chart title is in our Barberscore database, or just because a chart has a BHS catalog number (from the Harmony Marketplace) does not mean the chart is legal for your group.

Example #1: a legal BHS catalog arrangement must still be purchased by your group (or have been gifted to you by some other purchaser) for you to be able to “claim” it as a legal chart to be sung in contest. By adding that chart to your repertory, you are attesting to the fact that you own legal copies of the arrangement – (and not just obtained via a copy machine from someone else).

Example #2: a custom arrangement that was granted copyright clearance for another group (via its arranger) and was added to that group’s repertory to sing in a previous contest. While that chart may be listed as a title in our database - it may not be legal to be used by your group unless you have purchased it and have been granted clearance as well.

Example #3: a chart that was legal many years ago may not be today. Again, it might be in our database (because it was sung legally in a previous contest) – but perhaps the copyright clearance permissions have now expired.

Ultimately, it is your group’s responsibility to select charts to be added to your repertory that you feel meet the basic criteria for being “legal” to perform. While there are some rare exceptions, in general:

  • If you have purchased copies of a chart for every member of your group via the Harmony Marketplace, you’re all set. Another case may be older legally purchased copies that have since been gifted to you from someone else.
  • If you are performing a song that is in the public domain, you’re all set. (The exception would be if someone created a custom arrangement and your group has not purchased or sought permission from the arranger to perform that chart).
  • If you are performing any other custom arrangement (not obtained via the Harmony Marketplace), normally the arranger has already secured copyright permissions. In these cases, it is still your group’s responsibility to verify that the chart is legal (from the copyright holder’s perspective) – and of course you should have obtained copies of the arrangement legally as well.

Finally – “we” (BHS, C&J, and the Barberscore contest entry system) do not require any proof (in advance) that any chart you sing in a BHS contest is “legal” for your group. To be clear, it is every performer’s responsibility for performing legally obtained music whether it is on a public show, a private performance, or a BHS contest. The only time the BHS Contest & Judging system will become involved in seeking validation for the legality of a chart, would be if a complaint was registered by the copyright owner, or an arranger, or some other valid stakeholder – alleging that a chart performed in a contest was illegally obtained. At that point (within 30 days after the contest) – a clear violation of the copyright rules could lead to a group’s disqualification for competing with that chart.

Do I have to add all of our contest songs to our repertory prior to submitting our contest entry?

No. You can add songs to your chart repertory at any time. However, you are reminded that your songs must be added to your repertory prior to singing them on stage. Ideally, we would prefer that this is accomplished no later than one week before the contest, so that we can prepare to properly display the chart information on the Official Scoring Summary (OSS).

Also – please remember that you are responsible for your charts. By adding the chart, you are declaring and verifying that your group has purchased or has otherwise legally obtained copies of this chart for every member of your group. Any copyright legality issues discovered after you have performed a chart at a contest could possibly lead to a post-contest disqualification.


Has someone sung this song before?

How did it score?

Click here to search the Barbershop Music Database

(Please note: No arranger information is available with this database. This database gives you a reasonable expectation as to whether the song can be contestable. You could contact the performing group directly to find out what arrangement they sang if need be.)